By Tracey Abarca
The Association of Future Fire Fighters is a club that not only focuses on the member’s careers but is also committed in helping the community. AFFF is a club at East Los Angeles College for students who are on the career path to become a fire fighter.
AFFF was founded five years ago by Captain Jason Hosea, former teacher at ELAC, and currently advisor.
The club host various events for the community. They help out the Boys and Girls Clubs, assist the Monterey Park Fire Department with booths and the House of Ruth.
This year has been the first time AFFF has helped the House of Ruth. House of Ruth is a shelter for battered women and their children.
The members took toys and cooked Thanksgiving and Christmas meals for the women and their children in the shelter. They also did activities and an egg hunt for the children at the shelter.
AFFF went to a local elementary and taught children how to stop, drop and roll. They also taught them how to dial 911 in case of an emergency.
They’re currently working on a project to teach students in grades 5 , 6 and 7 to stop, drop and roll.
AFFF is also involved in fundraisers. They have a booth in between the parking structure and the swim stadium. They sell fire dogs, they are bacon wrapped hot dogs that comes with chips and a drink.
Throughout the day they usually sell 120-160 fire dogs. The proceeds go to AFFF and its club members for scholarships and equipment needed for the club.
AFFF gives out scholarships to its members only.
It can be used for EMT classes, or a CPR card or what equipment the student needs for their class. All the volunteer work that members put into their community and their club get rewarded with scholarships.
Gilberto Marquez, 20, is the President and Officer of the club. He has been with the club for two years and after half a year he became president.
This is going to be the last semester for Marquez as president.
Marquez wants to focus more on his career and start applying for fire stations.
“I’m here to finish up the job I wanted for the club to do,” Marquez said.
Marquez got into the firefighting career when he was 16. When he graduated from high school he came to ELAC and furthered his education.
He currently is an advisor and teaches at the fire academy. He tries to do as many events for the club as possible both helping the community and fire related.
Marquez encourages club members to always help and give back to the community. So when they have interviews they can give real stories when they helped out at shelter homes and share that experience.
So far there are 25 members, but there are only 14 strong members who have leadership skills.
Marquez’s goals for the club are to expand it, giving out more scholarships and get more individuals interested into the firefighting career.
Marquez’s basic core values for the club are: service, professionalism, innovation, respect, integrity, and trust. Some members advise the club about what’s going on in their community and discuss with the group to see if they can go volunteer.
Most of the time members go out on their own and volunteer without telling the club, Marquez said that’s what integrity is about.
Captain Hosea is always impressed with the progress the club has made. Hosea also trust them to be responsible, as well as Marquez. He expects the people to show up for volunteering when they sign up. If they don’t there are consequences.
Even though AFFF receives recognition from the chief of LAFD and certificates from the fire academy, other organizations and school all that matters is helping out.
Hosea said it doesn’t matter if a person has many certificates but no volunteer experience.
Marquez said, “I know it’s going to get bigger and I know it’s going to get better. I know that for a fact.”